What is the tool I'm looking for?
July 13, 2018 7:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a project planning tool that it seems like should exist, but I can't seem to come up with the right terms to find it. My goal is something like a Gantt chart, but rather than manually assigning resources to tasks, I want to be able to create a list of tasks and dependencies, the number of hours each should take, and a class of resource (e.g. DBA, SysAdmin, Engineer) that can perform the task.

I then want to be able to say "I have X of each class of resource", and have it figure out the overall time that the project will take when staffed with that number of each class of resource.

Does this exist? Am I just missing the right way to do this in existing tools (i.e. Project Libre)? All of the tools I see appear to expect me to enter specific resources, and assign them to tasks by hand. Am I in over my head here?
posted by jferg to Work & Money (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Gnome Planner is Gantt-y and has options for "number of resources," but I've never used it for that.

In general, and I've only done a few educated Googles, but automatic resource assignment appears not to be an existing feature anywhere, even for MS Project 2010. Maybe a thing to do is repurpose the "cost" field of a resource to reflect their productivity or effectiveness, then solve for the time required.
posted by rhizome at 8:10 PM on July 13, 2018

In construction we use schedule building tools like this often. Here's sort of a quick-google example overview with some recommendations at the end for some free and paid programs. You can break it out by trade/contractor, task breakdown, task duration, etc to create an overall project schedule with a Gantt chart to show overlaps. Maybe what you are looking for?
posted by dual_action at 10:40 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I recently listened to "Algorithms to Live By" by Christian & Griffiths. Since it was an audio book I can't skim it for you now, but I believe one of the things that they covered in detail was the difficulty in scheduling resources in the general case which (if I understood them) is intractable. Still, I think this counts as a partial answer because they do use real world examples and it might help you get some insights.
posted by forthright at 6:22 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might be able to do that with LiquidPlanner.

I've used LiquidPlanner for something similar, though not identical. You can setup dependencies and prioritize independent projects (represented in a Gantt chart). The resource management part will let you assign a certain number of hours per week of availability to each person, and then it will use that availability against the time estimates to dynamically adjust completion dates. I'm not sure whether that availability/time estimate is pooled and rolled up into a team or group, but if it were, it would probably do what you want.
posted by reeddavid at 10:19 AM on July 14, 2018

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